Thanks to HULUFan at A Fan Blog for scanning!


Ayumi Hamasaki: Black & White

Hamasaki Ayumi dresses simply in black and white!

Either in a white Tee and jeans, or a knitted black top and shorts, Hamasaki-san looks wonderful in these super casual coordinations. Such simple styles show off her true human nature, she is definite the real thing. It’s been a long time since her last short hairstyle…… We present such a visual.


A work that I really hope people other than ayu fans will listen to

All of her works always had a meaning and theme that is “Hamasaki Ayumi”. So, what is the secret behind this album 『FIVE』? Anticipating the answer, we look to the 5th song, 「BRILLANTE」. A very dramatic song showcasing vocal power that must have underwent much training. However, the question lies with the lyrics. Since this is her first release after her marriage, we expected songs that would more or less relate to her private life. We have accepted that her heart usually reflects the norm, but even so… Also, why is the album titled 『FIVE』? Is it because there are FIVE songs in the album? Will ayu think so simply? Or could it be “a divorce FIVE months after marriage”?! With these most extreme of possibilities, we hold this interview. With determination, we popped the question directly.

“Ahaha. That’s really funny. (laugh) Well, I see why you came to that conclusion~. I just want to say in general that “This is the album”, so that people will be interested and come listen to it. 『FIVE』 is a work that I really hope people other than ayu fans will listen to, so it doesn’t matter what conclusions they make. (lol)”

With that, she laughed it off, so that was the end of that silly notion… Nonetheless, there were many who listened to this album and came to this conclusion. But in reality, rather than her personal thoughts and screams, the lyrics are meant to reach out and appeal to the hearts of the masses. As such, the songs were of differing genres, so as not to target only listeners with a specific mindset.

“I sang 「progress」 during the tour, and though I wrote the lyrics last year, it seems to really fit the mood now. And I personally really like the song. The duet songs with AAA’s NAO and JUNO, which were well-received during a-nation, are both sad love songs, but seems like people have read too much into them. (laugh) To solve any misunderstandings, 「ANother song feat. URATA NAOYA」 with NAO was written as the two of us were talking about lots of things. Even though I wrote the lyrics, the perspective is more of NAO’s. (laugh) The sorrow of 「Why… feat. JUNO」 came alive because of JUNO’s unique way of pronouncing Japanese. He was not really used to speaking in Japanese, so during the recording, I had to teach him pronunciations of words, line by line. But he really did his best. 「beloved」 was born from a “love” mail sent to me from a friend. It has a fresh feel to it. By the way, you’ll be able to see a rare scene of me, with almost no make-up, frolicking with kids. (laugh) As for the mysterious 「BRILLANTE」…… No comment. (lol)”

There is always hope. Because I believe that, I could make this. That’s what this album is like

With these new revelations, we listened to the album again, and got a new ayu-ish perspective: Humans live, wishing for fated meetings and bonds. However, opposite to that, there is loneliness, and in our quest for a rightful place, love, and a deeper meaning to life, we get hurt. But we still move forward… With that, the scars we bear makes us human and able to love.

“True, even though we feel bonded, we are still lonely, and those are our scars. Of course, each of the songs holds a certain meaning for me, but they will coax out different meanings and resound in a different way for each listener, based on their personal experiences. However, I have to say that hope resides in each of these songs, because there are many things which I have not given up on yet.”

After 3/11, the plan for Arena Tour was scrapped, and a truly simple show was used to deliver the “power of music”. Inspired by ayu, we had her pose with pearls for this issue’s shoot. No amount of detailed jewelry work can replicate the simple, elegant existence of the pearls—- Her concerts and this album may be a hint of what’s to come on Hamasaki Ayumi’s next show, but she herself may also just be setting off from that point.

“After the disaster, I wanted to make things simple, so I cut my hair short, but I’ve changed from then. I grew my hair a little longer, darkened it, and styled it like Coco Chanel. Classy, proud, strong. I was aiming for her feminity. If I had to put that feeling into fashion…… It’ll be like a tight miniskirt? That’s why, during my lives, there are pearls floating around. I’m really glad that I can explain it here. For the final chapter starting this autumn, I wish everyone will come and watch the show, to see where it leads, and how the songs will resound in your hearts.”

The DVD contains PVs for all the songs on the album. For the first time, ayu herself undertook the artwork design of the font.

“If you look at the title FIVE closely, you’ll find a hidden word. So do check it out!”